Research in the Department of Biology
Due to the breadth of study in biology, and driven by a mission to educate our undergraduate and graduate students, the University of Dayton Department of Biology faculty has developed a wide spectrum of research interests. Additionally, this faculty plays a key role in one of the department's strongest differentiating aspects, that is, the way it integrates undergraduate and graduate education, especially in the research arena.
In recent years, the department's research has become more focused and competitive for external funding, and particularly within the fields of biomedical, environmental-ecological, genetics and molecular evolution and biosensor research.
Biomedical Research Faculty
Dr. Kearns is a renowned expert on the influence of diet and micro and macronutrients on the immune systems of felines and canines. Dr. Kearn's research is supported by Iams and has implicated specific dietary supplements in the specific immune response of these animals.
Dr. Robinson studies how bacterial behavior is influenced by environmental signals and conditions. This research can shed light on how bacteria can colonize animal hosts and has applications in infections. The NIH and USDA support Dr. Robinson's work.
Dr. Rowe's laboratory work centers on microbial biochemistry and molecular biology. His laboratory is studying anaerobic and aerobic microbial nitrate reduction, which has agricultural and environmental applications and is found in bacterial lung infections. Dr. Rowe has been funded by private industry, NSF and NIH.
Dr. Madhuri Kango-Singh, Dr. Carissa Krane, Dr. Amit Singh and Dr. Shirley Wright represent our Developmental, Cellular and Molecular Biology group. Dr. Panagiotis Tsonis focuses on Tissue Regeneration and Development.
Dr. Amit Singh uses the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster to research the molecular, genetic, and environmental basis of normal eye development, and to elucidate the genes and molecules that when altered result in the genesis of birth defects in the eye.
Dr. Wright's research is related to the cytoskeletal aspects of cell motility and fertilization and is currently funded by the American Kennel Club.
Dr. Tsonis' research is aimed toward delineating the mechanisms of regeneration of the eye and limbs with applications in diseases such as cataracts. Dr. Tsonis is currently the Director of the Center for Tissue Regeneration and Engineering at Dayton (TREND) and is funded by the NIH.
Environmental/Ecology Research Faculty
Studies on ecosystems, water conservation and interactions between individuals and populations are the themes of several of our faculty members. Our key research faculty in these areas include Dr. Eric Benbow, Dr. Albert Burky, Dr. Carl Friese, Dr. Ryan McEwan and Dr. Kelly Williams.
Dr. Friese's interests cover many aspects of ecosystem and microbial ecology with an emphasis on how fungi affect plant establishment and growth, and on the potential consequences of the interactions between different organisms. He is particularly interested in studying these interactions in disturbed environments and is heavily involved in ecological restoration projects.
Dr. Ryan McEwan's lab focuses on plants, plant communities, and ecosystems – how they change through time, what causes those changes, and particularly, how human manipulation of ecosystems creates feedback. Research topics include invasive species and prescribed fire.
The research programs in the department of Biology have become quite competitive regionally and nationally in the past few years, as evidenced by the success rate of our faculty members in securing external funding for their research from agencies such as NIH, NSF and others. To learn more about our undergraduate and graduate research topics and opportunities, we invite you to explore our faculty profiles here and to contact them directly through any of the links on this page.